World-class fast bowler Nicola Browne has chosen club and career over country, turning down the opportunity to represent New Zealand to re-sign with the ACT Meteors.
The veteran of 181 international caps last played for the White Ferns in April, starring as they qualified for the 2016 ICC Women's World Twenty20. But Browne's focus on a post-cricket career had the biggest influence on her decision to commit to the Meteors. Browne is doing administrative work for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The 30-year-old believes the opportunity to develop her off-pitch career was more important ''than just another cricket tour''. Several New Zealand tours conflict with the preparation for next year’s Cricket World Cup.
Browne said balancing work and play was vital, especially after recovering from a career-threatening gluten intolerance, which saw her break from international cricket for two years.
''I just think that for the future and the skill development that could occur in the working side [of cricket] would probably outweigh the benefit of playing for the White Ferns,'' Browne said.
''From retiring for a couple of years and then coming back, it made me realise who I was and it made me a better person. And I think I can take that onto the field.''
Browne returns to the Meteors on the back of a T20 Grand Final loss last year against Perth. She is hoping Canberra can go one step further this summer. Browne credits a lot of the Meteors performance last summer to coach Andrew Dawson, another big reason she will return to Canberra.
''I love what’s here, and what Andrew’s trying to do with the team around high performance and the message that’s being driven by the Australian women’s team.
''It might be Andrew Dawson’s coaching style; it allows you to play with a sense of freedom.
''I really wanted to play in Australia ... the resources are great, they kind of supersede all of New Zealand’s resources, which is probably just due to the climate.
''We put in a good performance in the semis but just weren’t able to capitalise on that in the final ... it’ll be something we address this season.
''What we have here is new and it’s really refreshing after 13 years in the game. It’s a new experience, and it allows a different part of me to grow and explore.''